Primary, Peer Reviewed Research
Updated: Apr 22, 2020
It's the alliteration that makes this topic so fun to introduce: primary, peer reviewed research. It's got two sets of consonance going for it. But when your teachers ask you to cite primary, peer reviewed research, do you know what you're looking for? Here's the breakdown.
Primary research is a type of research. This means that the study or experiment described in the research article was designed and conducted by the authors of the article. This is unique from other types of research, literature reviews, for example, which are articles that compile and analyze information from several primary research articles. There is an easy way to check if the research article you are reading is primary research; the article will have these five sections:
Introduction: In this section, the authors will outline the purpose and thesis of the study.
Materials and Methods: Here, the authors will detail the design of the study or experiment. This is important because it helps you, as a fellow scholar, judge the validity of their research and replicate the experiment for yourself.
Results: The authors will present the findings of their study or experiment in this section.
Discussion: Perhaps most important for the kinds of papers you'll be writing, the authors will discuss why the results matter in this section. What was learned? Where should the field go next?
Conclusion: The authors will wrap up their arguments here.
Peer review refers to a publication process. Before research articles are published by reputable academic journals, the articles are subjected to intense review by a panel of experts in the same field as the article's authors. This is usually a blind process, which means that the authors do not know who is critiquing their research, and the reviewers do not know who authored the article. The peer review process is meant to ensure that research is conducted and reported ethically and factually. Here's how you can be sure if a research article was published in a peer reviewed journal: simply Google the journal title! Most journals will have a section on their website that explains their publishing process. If you don't see the words peer reviewed on their website, you'll know to skip that article in your own paper.
Finding Primary, Peer Reviewed Research in the Library
Finding peer reviewed research on our Library databases is easy when you use the peer review filter. Watch our video tutorial to learn how!